You see them all over the internet: business websites that are holding companies back and keeping them from their full earning potential. Is yours one of them? Today, people equate a business’ website with its level of professionalism. If you have a poor quality website, then people will assume you must be a poor quality business. If you have no website, well then you can only imagine what they think. If you are serious about your business, it is time to get serious about the impression you are sending to the world via the internet. Here are 7 things you need to know about web marketing that can improve the functionality and attractiveness of your website, so people can see just how great your business is.
1. Content is King
We’ve all heard that search engines love content. They index your text, searching for keywords and phrases, but many times people take this to mean that they should use the same words and phrases over and over again (just in case that helps). This is a quick way to drive visitors away. Trust me: nobody ever bored someone into buying something. To make sure you don’t drive new or old business from your website, use key words, but use them in a meaningful way that gives the customer the information that they need to make a decision. Hone your content and present a focused, compelling story that leads your visitors to purchase your product or service.
2. SEO or Not?
If your website traffic is leaving as fast as it’s arriving, maybe search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the answer you’ve been looking for. Just like with sales calls, it’s always best to have qualified buyers, people who are the right fit for what you have to offer and ripe for choosing your product or service. Instead of spending all of your time and money to drive as many random people as possible to your sight, focus on getting the right people there. Try writing articles with a link to your newsletter mailing list. Newsletters can deliver powerful messages in a less salesy manner than banner ads or email marketing campaigns.
3. Less Links
These days everyone is talking about how links on a website can up your SEO because search engine crawlers identify the many links and increase your website ranking and thus where it appears on the search engine. However, it’s important to stop and think about what those links mean to your website. Each one is an invitation for your visitor to leave your website. Links are an attention diversion and should be treated as such. If you wish to list the links of your strategic partners, do so on one dedicated page where they are all listed. Make sure that the link opens in a new browser instead of replacing your website in the browser. Links certainly have their place on websites because they are a way for you to form connections and up your SEO, but don’t let them detract from the true purpose of the site. Less links throughout your website means less doors for your visitors to exit through.
4. Too Much Text
Many people have worried about pictures resulting in slow load times and assumed the more words you have the higher the SEO ranking, so they have dumped most of the images and multimedia on their website and proceeded to put so much text on the site that it begins to look like a page in a dictionary. Before making this mistake, stop and think about whether anybody is actually going to take the time to read that stuff. Most people like visual aids. They like pictures that guide them subconsciously and multimedia that informs them effortlessly. While you should consider the load time of your website, you should also remember that pictures can speak just as loud if not louder than words. Be sure to include compelling visual stimuli that help to tell your message; this will keep your visitors longer and attract them to your message.
5. Put a Face on the Web
Many times visitors to websites become enthusiastic after looking at the sites products and services. Then they have a question and they go to the contact page and only find an email address with no contact name, no address, no phone number and no pictures. Suddenly they start to think, who are these guys? Can I really trust them? These visitors want to talk to somebody to make sure that the business is legitimate. They want to know that if they have a problem, someone will stand behind what’s being sold. They want to feel secure that your website is not like a Hollywood set, with just a front but nothing behind it. This is where the human factor comes into play in a website. Put a face on your website by putting in pictures with contact information or by including enough information to allow visitors to contact you, see that you are real and not a recording and get the verification that they need to buy what you’ve got.
6. Be the Brand
If you’ve got a business, then you’ve got a brand. I’m not talking about a logo or a brochure or a product look. I’m talking about everything from your website to your print collaterals: the cohesive (or non-cohesive) image that everything portrays. Thus you want to make sure that your website design firm or your whiz kid assistant is creating a brand message throughout your website that is consistent and compelling. Who you are as a company and what you are promising to your customers should come through loud and clear.
7. Navigation Station
Information architecture, how people find the content they’re looking for, is critical for creating a satisfying user experience. Nothing will irritate visitors more than not being able to find what they are looking for. If they can’t find it on your sight within a minute, they will move on to another one. Make sure that your website is easily navigable. Get testers, who don’t have a strong allegiance to you, to try out your website and let you know what’s missing, what’s confusing and what problems they experience when browsing through your site.
Don’t be the business that builds a website and forgets to think about what its look, feel, and flow can mean to visitors. When it comes to your website, you need to ask how your audience is going to perceive it. Don’t let your website hold your business back or keep you from your earning potential. Give your website a hard look with these seven ideas in mind. Make the changes you deem necessary and see what kind of response you get. For more information about creating a website that works, visit http://www.flourishingbusiness.com.